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Astronomy news. New! Earth-like extrasolar planet found; double helix nebula; supermassive black holes, astronomy articles, astronomy pictures. Updated daily.
Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Astronomers discover cosmic double whammy

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 9:23am
Astronomers have discovered a cosmic one-two punch never seen before. By combining data from some of the best X-ray, optical and radio telescopes in the world, researchers have found out what happens when matter ejected by a giant black hole is swept up in the merger of two enormous galaxy clusters.

Deepest X-ray image ever reveals black hole treasure trove

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 2:34pm
An unparalleled image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is giving astronomers the best look yet at the growth of black holes over billions of years beginning soon after the Big Bang. This is the deepest X-ray image ever obtained, collected with about 7 million seconds, or 11 and a half weeks, of Chandra observing time.

NASA moon data provides more accurate 2017 eclipse path

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 1:38pm
Thanks to elevation data of the moon from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, coupled with detailed NASA topography data of Earth, we have the most accurate maps of the path of totality for any eclipse to date.

Role of supernovae in clocking the universe

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:36pm
New research by cosmologists confirms the accuracy of Type Ia supernovae in measuring the pace at which the universe expands. The findings support a widely held theory that the expansion of the universe is accelerating and such acceleration is attributable to dark energy. The findings counter recent headlines that Type Ia supernova cannot be relied upon to measure the expansion of the universe.

Fast radio burst tied to distant dwarf galaxy, and perhaps magnetar

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 1:35pm
Since first detected 10 years ago, fast radio bursts have puzzled astronomers. Unlike pulsars, they flash irregularly, most only once, and only for milliseconds. And they seem to come from outside the galaxy, meaning they are very energetic. A team of astronomers has now localized the only repeating burst, to a distant dwarf galaxy. The researcher who created the rapid data collection and analysis software sees a connection to magnetars.

Hidden secrets of Orion's clouds

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 10:36am
This spectacular new image is one of the largest near-infrared high-resolution mosaics of the Orion A molecular cloud, the nearest known massive star factory, lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. It reveals many young stars and other objects normally buried deep inside the dusty clouds.

Hubble gazes at a cosmic 'megamaser'

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 11:34am
This entire galaxy essentially acts as an astronomical laser that beams out microwave emission rather than visible light (hence the 'm' replacing the 'l').

Hubble chases a small stellar galaxy in the Hunting Dog

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 1:16pm
Lurking in the constellation of Canes Venatici or The Hunting Dog, NGC 4707 lies roughly 22 million light-years from Earth.

Feeding the ravenous black hole at the center of our galaxy

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 1:05pm
An improved method for simulating collisionless accretion disk around the supermassive Sagittarius A* at center of the Milky Way has been described in a new article.

Supercluster of galaxies near Milky Way

Wed, 12/21/2016 - 9:14am
Astronomers have found one of the Universe's biggest superclusters of galaxies near the Milky Way. The Vela supercluster, which had previously gone undetected as it was hidden by stars and dust in the Milky Way, is a huge mass that influenced the motion of our Galaxy.

First light for band 5 at ALMA

Wed, 12/21/2016 - 9:14am
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has begun observing in a new range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This has been made possible thanks to new receivers installed at the telescope's antennas, which can detect radio waves with wavelengths from 1.4 to 1.8 millimeters -- a range previously untapped by ALMA. This upgrade allows astronomers to detect faint signals of water in the nearby Universe.

First look at birthplaces of most current stars

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 2:09pm
Distant galaxies can be seen as they were when most of today's stars were being born, report scientists, answering longstanding questions about mechanisms of star formation billions of years ago.

Festive nebulae light up Milky Way Galaxy satellite

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 2:08pm
The sheer observing power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200 000 light-years away and yet can still be seen in great detail.

Astronauts to get help from snake robots

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 9:44am
Researchers are looking into how a snake robot might carry out maintenance work on the International Space Station (ISS), study comets, and explore the possibility of living and working in lava tunnels on the Moon.

Democratizing the space race with nanosatellite technology

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 1:38pm
Smaller, faster, cheaper—miniaturized space technology opens the door to future University-based space exploration.

Astronomers release largest digital survey of the visible universe

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 12:02pm
The world's largest digital survey of the visible Universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies, has been publicly released.

No trace of dark matter in gamma-ray background

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 8:50am
Researchers have just published the most precise analysis of the fluctuations in the gamma-ray background to date. By making use of more than six years of data, the researchers found two different source classes contributing to the gamma-ray background. No traces of a contribution of dark matter particles were found in the analysis.

Astronomers discover dark past of planet-eating 'Death Star'

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 3:21pm
Scientists have made the rare discovery of a planetary system with a host star similar to Earth's sun. Especially intriguing is the star's unusual composition, which indicates it ingested some of its planets.

Number of known black holes expected to double in two years with new detection method

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 3:21pm
A method that will detect roughly 10 black holes per year has now been developed, doubling the number currently known within two years, say scientists. They add that it will likely unlock the history of black holes in a little more than a decade.

Microlensing study suggests most common outer planets likely Neptune-mass

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 2:32pm
A new statistical study of planets found by a technique called gravitational microlensing suggests that Neptune-mass worlds are likely the most common type of planet to form in the icy outer realms of planetary systems.